Dating apps removed from Apple Store and Google Play over use by children

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The FTC says data was collected from children as young as 12

The FTC has announced that three dating apps -- Meet24, FastMeet, and Meet4U -- have been removed from the Apple Store and Google Play platforms due to violations connected to children using them.

Regulators say that children as young as 12 were allowed to create profiles and use the apps. This enabled Wildec LLC -- the company that operates all three apps -- to collect personal information and location data from them in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and the FTC Act.

The agency issued a warning letter to the company and released a consumer alert for parents to inform them about the dating apps.

Collecting personal information

The FTC says that Wildec collected a slew of information on users, including birth dates, email addresses, photos, and real-time location data. However, the COPPA Rule mandates that no company is allowed to collect personal information from children under the age of 13 without posting a clear privacy policy and notifying parents to obtain consent.

Wildec officials said that the company does not allow children under the age of 13 to use its apps, but the FTC says that each one failed to block users even if they said they were under that age threshold.

In its warning letter, the agency pointed out that several adults were facing criminal charges for allegedly contacting or attempting to communicate with minors on the apps. All three apps have been removed from the Apple Store and Google Play platforms until they address the violations.

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